Goodness - it's been ages! It will take me a long time to bring you all up to date on what Echo and I have been doing so this post will just be a brief overview. We've been having a few lessons with a fantastic Portuguese dressage trainer, we've been hacking and jumping a lot, and we've been competing - yes, proper competing!
I was going to register with British Dressage, but with my up-coming move, I'm not sure how worthwhile it will be, so we've been sticking to unaffiliated competitions for now, but we're having so much fun. There is a lovely and very generous lady at the yard who used to compete at Prix St George with her horse who she has now retired from schooling and only hacks with, and she has now driven me to a couple of shows. One was about a month and a half ago and the other was on Friday.
Echo is so fabulously behaved at shows. I didn't completely expect her to be, but at her first competition, she came off the lorry, had a little look around, then stood tied to the lorry with a haynet until asked to do some work. The competitions we've been to have been in a lovely venue - really well run, with great surfaces; having said that, there are plenty of things there that I would have put money on her spooking at, but she seems to just know what she's there to do, gets her head down and tries her hardest.
At the first show, we won our first prelim class and came fourth in the second - she was a bit tired by the second one as I think I'd worked her in for too long. I also had a few issues with downward transitions and nearly ended up in the judge's box at the end of the second test! On Friday, her second ever show away from home, she was absolutely brilliant. I didn't warm up for too long, so she felt fresh and lively going into the arena. It wasn't a test I'd ridden before, but I could tell it would suit her. We even got a 9 for our centre line entry!!
She was a star - we won the prelim with nearly 79%. Could not have asked for more from her at this stage. Next came our first novice test - not exactly an easy one either - it has two diagonals of medium trot and two long sides of medium canter, as well as a walk to canter transition, so lots of places where things could have gone wrong. A couple of things did - we got the wrong canter lead at one point - rider-error entirely - and we didn't really do any medium strides in trot. I'll post more about my schooling another time, as I have lots to talk about with engaging her more and getting her to carry more weight on her hindlegs. We are certainly getting there - she is much more 'through' than she used to be, but there's always more work to do - that's why I love dressage!
Anyway - we won the novice too! I totally wasn't expecting to, but the judge seemed to really like her and commented on what a super attitude she has. I would have to agree. I'll post the videos here, so you can see how we're getting on. I will be posting a little more regularly soon - I promise!